Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Click (04/18/13)
TITLE: Sound of Fear
By Fiona Stevenson
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She ghosted across the landing of the upstairs bedrooms, her shoulder following the wall. The two boys were also asleep, safe in their beds. There was no one else in the house. Officially, that is, there was no one else in the house. She leaned over the stairwell; she had left lights burning in the hall and the kitchen. There was no movement within her line of vision.
Perhaps it was just the breathing of an old house settling into the cooler night air. Somehow she was not convinced. In her sensory tautness she could discern no movement within or without. The old house was holding its breath. Clinging tightly to the curving banister she crept down, feeling for the cutaway stairs with her slippered feet. This was no time to fall, to give warning that she was awake. At the lowest step courage failed and she slowly sat.
The alarms of recent household invasions swarmed into her mind. Panic held her tight in a shivering grip. The telephone was two rooms away. “Pray.” The command was unspoken but strong. She took a deep breath, relaxing the hands that were digging fingernails into her legs.
“Lord, I am so frightened I don’t know what to do. I need Your help. I need to be aware that You are with me right now, that there is nothing I need to fear because You are here.”
Gathering herself together she started to stand.
This time the sound was close, and she knew that it could not possibly be the closing of a door. But she could see nothing that would have caused the click. She moved away from the stairwell, into the hall. Her eyes swept the walls, the ceiling, the floor. This was where she had heard the click, but what had caused it?
And then she saw it. Her knees wobbled and she sat suddenly on the parquet floor, tears soaking her cheeks. A click beetle! Such a tiny creature, and a familiar, if momentarily forgotten visitor to her home. She picked the visitor up and replaced it on its back, watching it flex, click, shoot upward and land once more on its feet.
She sat for a while, waiting while the fear and the tension receded, and her composure returned. It seemed right to spend that time thanking the Lord for His creation – even for click beetles – and for His compassion and comfort. She thought of her husband and her brother, policing the streets where drugs and danger were a real threat, and prayed for their safety. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Thou art with me.” She thought of her sister, a nurse on night duty in the Emergency Ward of the city hospital, and prayed for her and for the medical staff with whom she worked. “Blessed are the merciful.”
She heard the clock in the dining room chime. It was late, time for her final round of duties, time to douse the lights, time to take her rest. As she curled beneath her bedclothes she thanked God once more for the safety of her home and for His guiding presence every day. The lights in the house were out; the click beetles would have to seek the light of the moon, and their sustenance, in the night garden.
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